ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre has not made a final decision on retirement, but Sunday took on the overwhelming feel of a grand farewell when the future Hall of Fame third baseman walked off the field to an emotional standing ovation in the top of the sixth inning.
The Rangers' 6-1 victory over the Mariners in their last home game of the season -- marked by strong pitching by Martin Perez and the bullpen and a booming home run by Joey Gallo -- was all secondary to the fact this could be Beltre's final game at Globe Life Park. There is a strong and growing possibility that a crowd of 31,269 saw Beltre play his last game in Arlington. Beltre's post-game tone suggested that is the case.
"I mean, it was emotional," Beltre said. "I didn't know how it was going to feel. Obviously, not knowing if I'm going to come back or not. Seeing the crowd, seeing my teammates, everybody cheering for me. It was special, it was emotional, but it was nice."
Beltre started the game at third base despite a sore hip and was hitless in two at-bats. After the fifth inning was over, the Rangers played a video tribute on the scoreboard as Beltre took his position at third base. But before reliever Jeffrey Springs threw his first pitch, Rougned Odor came off the bench to replace Beltre.
Beltre received hugs from Odor, Springs, shortstop Elvis Andrus, second baseman Jurickson Profar and first baseman Ronald Guzman. Members of the Mariners in the visiting dugout joined the crowd and Rangers teammates in giving Beltre a standing ovation. He waved to the crowd multiple times as he headed to the dugout. Beltre is not big on ceremony, but he allowed himself to enjoy the moment.
"Yeah, a little bit," Beltre said. "Maybe that's why, because this could be my last time that I share this field with the fans and my teammates. And again, I don't know what I'm going to do, but it was nice to kind of accept the fact that some people appreciate me."
Beltre, 39, is a free agent after this season, and said he will spend a few weeks after the season talking with his family about the possibility of retiring. He has made it clear his desire is to return to the Rangers if he does play next season. He has been with the Rangers since 2011.
"I think that mentally, I'm ready to accept the fact that maybe this is it," Beltre said. "And if it's not, I want to be ready, mentally, to go through another year of figuring out how to be productive and stay healthy. So whatever the situation or decision might be, I've got to be mentally ready for whatever it's going to be."
Rangers interim manager Don Wakamatsu said it was one of the most emotional days he has experienced in his career.
"Again, it was goosebumps and some tears because Adrian teared up pretty good," Wakamatsu said. "Somebody who has put his heart and soul into it and has had the career he has had, yeah we would like to see him back. He has played hurt his whole career here. If he was hurt, he played through it. He has been a leader for so many of the young guys here, it was a pretty special, emotional moment for him."
For those who are hoping Beltre will come back, there was one good sign on Sunday: He spent the morning throwing batting practice to Adrian Jr. in the outfield.
"He does want me to play," Beltre said. "He's the wild card. I think he's the one who wants me to play the most. That's going to be a hard decision for me cause I know how much he enjoys being here with the guys. But you know there's going to be a time where he has to understand that Daddy has to be home every day and he'll like that better."
Beltre is expected to play in at least some of the Rangers games on the final road trip to Anaheim and Seattle.
"I talked to him about taking a day off tomorrow and then we'll play every game by ear as far as hip and everything else," Wakamatsu said. "He wants to play and we want him to play."
PEREZ HAS SOLID START
Second baseman Profar's terrific catch on Kyle Seager's line drive ended four strong innings from Rangers starter Perez. Making his first start since Aug. 25, Perez held the Mariners to one run in four innings. He allowed two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out one.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Andrus made a run-saving play with one out in the third. The Rangers had the infield in with a runner on third base and Andrus made a terrific diving stop to his right to take away a hit from David Freitas.
Jose Leclerc set down the side in order in the ninth and has not allowed a run in his last 19 innings. Opponents have just three hits in their last 56 at-bats off him.
HE SAID IT
"There are some moments that are just bigger than others and that was definitely one of them. There's a few guys in the league that just have the respect of every single person on the team, no matter what you've done or how long you've been around. Some guys are just unbelievably respected in this game and he's certainly one of them for all that he's accomplished and how hard he's worked." -- Seager, on Beltre.
Right-hander Adrian Sampson makes his third start for the Rangers as they open a three-game series against the Angels at 9:05 p.m. CT Monday in Anaheim. Sampson has lost his first two starts despite allowing just three runs in 10 2/3 innings. The Rangers were shut out in both games. Right-hander Felix Pena pitches for the Angels.